SYPN – Executive Bios
Nicola Toffelmire – Co-Director
Nicola is a Master of Public Health Candidate at Simon Fraser University, and holds an Honours Bachelor of Science in Health Studies from the University of Waterloo. Since joining the Coalition in 2013, she has enjoyed acting as a Co-Director for the SYPN and engaging as a member on the Board of Directors and sub-committees. Nicola was selected to be Canada’s youth delegate at the 70th World Health Assembly. She was the 2016 chair of the Global Health Students and Young Professionals Summit, and a member of the local organizing committee for the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research held the same year. Nicola has previously supported research projects in Togo, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. She also worked at the International Development Research Centre, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Department of Global Health at Queen’s University, and as a teaching assistant at Simon Fraser University. Her research interests include sexual and reproductive health, emergency preparedness and response, and strengthening health systems in fragile contexts.
Kirsten Lee – Student Chapter Support
Kirsten Lee is an MSc candidate in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Her work explores the barriers in the food environment that affect eating patterns and food choices, specifically among university students and young adults. Her objective is to influence policy changes and public health initiatives to promote healthful eating among students. Kirsten’s current Student Chapter Support projects include hosting Canada-wide events to connect student chapters across provinces, such as the Global Health Pitch Competition. Through her prior experience as Co-President of the Waterloo student chapter, she has become a strong advocate for mentorship at all levels. Kirsten hopes to promote an environment for SYPN members that introduces the career development and mentorship that she experienced with the Waterloo student chapter.
Stephanie Lu – Professional Development
Stephanie Lu is a fourth-year PhD student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Her dissertation work is focused on exploring gaps in evaluative practice in small NGOs in a water, sanitation, and hygiene context. She has been partnering closely with an NGO and has conducted field work in the Dominican Republic and Uganda. She supports the SYPN as a Professional Development Executive, co-managing the Professional Applications Service and sharing job opportunities and resources on building a career in global health. Next, she hopes to set up an online platform where CCGHR members can explore career options, give each other advice, and learn about skills that are valued in the workplace, all within a supportive community.
Lonnie Embleton – Professional Development
Lonnie Embleton is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Medical Science in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and holds a Master of Public Health from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. For the past six years she has lived and worked in Kenya, and conducted research projects with marginalized children and youth focused on their sexual health, HIV, substance use, human rights and social policy. Lonnie’s doctoral research seeks to adapt, pilot and evaluate an innovative HIV prevention intervention for street-connected young people in Kenya. Lonnie joins the SYPN as a Professional Development Executive and is dedicated to providing guidance, support, and building capacity among young scholars and professionals. She hopes to bring engaging and participatory opportunities for SYPN members to launch and grow their global health careers.
Palki Bhatt – Events and Conferences
Palki Bhatt is an MSc candidate in Global Health at McMaster University and holds a BMSc from Western University. As a SYPN Events & Conferences Executive at the CCGHR, Palki is using her experiences organizing global health symposiums and events to help foster environments and platforms where students and young professionals can network and engage in the global health community. Her specific interest in health in conflict has led her to projects involving gender-based and sexual violence in refugee populations, and work exploring the politics of health during war and genocide. Additionally, Palki has had experience working on development and advocacy initiatives in Zambia and Cambodia. Palki is currently conducting research with War Child Holland, where she is involved in an inter-agency project focusing on the improvement of the psychosocial wellbeing of caregivers to protect children in areas of humanitarian crises.
Erica Westwood – Marketing and Communications
Erica Westwood is a Research Associate at Habitat Health Impact Consulting, located in Calgary. She holds a MSc in Global Health from McMaster University and a BHSc in Health and Society from the University of Calgary. Erica’s work at Habitat has led her to examine health issues in the extractive sector, through health impact assessments and population health studies. She has experience working on these issues across North America, as well as in Mongolia and Sierra Leone. She is passionate about improving health equity in host communities, with a focus on vulnerable populations. She is also interested in improving processes for integrating community health and engagement in resource development.